Thanksgiving Holiday: Stay Safe from Fatal Traffic Accidents

Thanksgiving Holiday: Stay Safe from Fatal Traffic Accidents

Safety advocates warn that travel over this Thanksgiving Holiday will be more dangerous than in past years for those of us who are driving the roads of Indiana and Illinois to visit friends and family.

According to traffic accident forecasts from Indiana’s renown National Safety Council, there will be around 7% more fatal car crashes over the 2017 Thanksgiving weekend.

Officially, the Thanksgiving Day holiday begins on Wednesday evening (6 p.m.) and ends on Sunday night as the clock strikes midnight.  That means that we must be prepared for greater dangers on the rural roads, streets, and expressways over the next few days because the risk of a fatal motor vehicle accident will be higher.  Why?  In many fatal crashes over the next four-day holiday, drunk driving and driving under the influence will cause people to die in these preventable auto accidents.

From Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council:

“While many of us are putting together grocery lists and travel plans for Thanksgiving, we can’t forget that long holiday weekends are particularly deadly on the roads. If you plan to celebrate, make smart decisions and commit to having a driver that is not impaired by alcohol or drugs behind the wheel. This Thanksgiving, let’s ensure everyone in every family arrives home safely.”

More Hoosiers Taking Thanksgiving Road Trips This Year

According to AAA, more of us will be traveling by car over the next few days.  The AAA forecasters expect 3.3% more drivers on the roads this year, with over 50,900,000 drivers traveling at least 50 miles away from home.

The AAA numbers show this 2017 Thanksgiving Holiday to have the highest travel volume since 2005.  In Indiana, 1.1 million people are expected to travel this holiday week by AAA estimates.  This is a 3.4% increase from last year.  

Of course, the more people that are sharing the roads means the numbers rise for the percentage risk of a serious or fatal traffic accident over the 2017 Thanksgiving Holiday here in our part of the country.

Drunk Driving Fatal Accidents over Thanksgiving Holiday

Having more vehicles on the road creates a greater danger for accidents.  But that’s not the biggest factor in fatal traffic accidents over the next few days.

Research reveals that the temptation to drive a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs proves too tempting for many drivers.  So much so, that the NSC data shows that in past years, over a third of traffic deaths over the Thanksgiving Holiday are caused by drunk drivers.

In fact, the Itasca safety experts forecast that 421 people will die in drunk-driving car accidents between Wednesday, November 22, and Sunday, November 26th.  Thousands more are forecast to be seriously injured in major Thanksgiving Holiday car crashes.

The NSC warns that Wednesday, the first day of the Thanksgiving Holiday Weekend, is particularly dangerous for drivers on the road driving impaired by alcohol.

Law Enforcement Campaigns to Fight Drunk Driving Deaths over Thanksgiving

Accordingly, safety advocates are pushing local and state law enforcement agencies to boost their enforcement efforts over the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend.  For instance, the NSC urges increased sobriety checkpoints on local roads and highways.

In response to the deadly threat of DUI accidents, Indiana participates in the federal “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaigns.  Illinois’ Department of Transportation has its Sustained Traffic Enforcement Program.

This holiday weekend, all over Indiana and Illinois, police officers will be on the lookout for drivers under the influence.  Sometimes, there may be checkpoints.  In other parts of the state, this may mean more patrol cars moving along the roadways seeking out suspicious drivers to pull over for field testing.  

Each jurisdiction makes its own decisions on how best to fight fatal DUI accidents within its boundaries.  So, as we drive through the various cities and counties of Indiana and Illinois, things will change insofar as drunk driving prevention.

For instance:

  1. St. Charles, Illinois

Police in St. Charles have issued a news release with a warning that officers will be on increased traffic patrols.  The St. Charles Police Department will be focusing efforts on catching drivers that are driving under the influence over the holiday.

2.      Evansville-Vanderburgh County, Indiana

In a “traffic safety partnership,” law enforcement in Evansville and Vanderburgh County have joined together to fight against fatal DUI accidents over the Thanksgiving holiday.  Officers from the Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Office, the Evansville Police Department, and the Indiana State Police will be participating in the effort.

How?  They have announced increased patrols over the holiday season, with an active drunk driving enforcement campaign.  It’s called “Operation Pull-Over Blitz 92,” and it begins on the 2017 Thanksgiving Holiday and continues through December 3rd.

Drunk Driving Fatal Accidents Are Preventable

Efforts to keep everyone safe as they travel the roads of Indiana and Illinois are to be commended.  This is the holiday where we are to take stock of our many blessings and give thanks and gratitude for what we have and the love we share with our family and friends.  Our festivities should not be marred by a serious or fatal car accident.

It is not just the safety advocates or law enforcement agencies that are concerned about the inevitability of fatal traffic accidents over this holiday season.  

Experienced personal injury lawyers who have seen the tragedy of holiday car crashes and drunk driving accidents also know all too well how these holiday fatalities destroy lives and devastate families.  Drunk driving will happen — and fatalities will occur.  Preventable accidents will happen over our Thanksgiving Holiday weekend.  

Of course, there are laws on the books of both the State of Indiana and the State of Illinois that work to provide justice for these drunk driving accident victims and their families.  There are wrongful death laws and personal injury claims to be advanced.

However, the best result is to keep safe and prevent these crashes from happening.  Let’s educate ourselves on the dangers of driving over the 2017 Thanksgiving Holiday season.  Let’s be careful out there!




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